Get a property bargain from developers keen to sell

Developers are keen to get properties off their books before 2013 - so get tough and strike a goal
The Mill apartments
From £588,000: The Mill Apartments in West Hampstead
At Christmas, buying a new home might be the last thing on your mind — but it should be top of your shopping list. New-homes builders do their most generous deals at this time of year, not because they’re filled with Christmas spirit, but because they are desperate to sell their remaining 2012-built homes so they can move on to their new year launches.

Now is the time to make a developer an offer — even if prices are already seasonally discounted. Not only could you make a great saving on price, but developers are also offering stamp duty refunds, paid deposits, commuter fares, free furniture packs, homeware vouchers and even “tech hampers” full of gadgets such as flat-screen televisions and iPads.

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Property values in Aldwych

Red Lion Court
£750,000: Galliard Homes is offering £25,000 off two-bedroom homes at Red Lion Court, Aldwych
“Call us, make an offer and let’s do a deal,” invites David Galman, sales director of Galliard Homes, which is cutting prices at central London developments including Red Lion Court in Aldwych, ideal for theatre lovers and 10 minutes from the city.

You can save £25,000 on a two-bedroom flat, now priced at £750,000. A three-bedroom apartment is down to £1.3 million from £1.4 million.

At The Distillery, Deptford, buyers can get up to 10 per cent off the list price (£325,000) of two-bedroom, 750 sq ft apartments, all ready to move into. The same deal applies to Wharfside Point, close to Canary Wharf, where prices start at £290,000. Call 020 7620 1500.

These are not fire sales. Galliard says: “Demand is high for finished homes and we had record sales in November. It is simple. We want to shift remaining flats because it’s our financial year-end.” The best bargains are to be had in the mid-priced homes selling for between £500 million and £1 million.

Wharfside Point
From £290,000: 10 per cent off the list price of flats at Wharfside Point, close to Canary Wharf
With a marketing timetable to stick to, developers like to keep it neat, sell out the site and move on. Buyers will rightly ask if the price cuts are genuine, and why these homes have not sold. The properties could well be in the least-desirable position of a site, or just held back for an overseas buyer who did not complete. Either way, be sure you know what you are getting, especially if you are buying off-plan. And do not be totally driven by the lure of a discount. Many developers are keeping their sales offices open over Christmas and new year, so visit and scrutinise the property on sale.

At St Mary’s Island, Chatham, Countryside Properties is knocking £25,000 off the price of a four-bedroom “Roma” home, bringing it to £374,950. The property overlooks the River Medway, has a wraparound terrace and open-plan interior. Call 01634 891200.

Stamp of approval

Be in a position of strength when you go to buy. Be businesslike and able to act quickly if you want the best results. Have your mortgage finance lined up and your solicitor ready to act.

Waterside Park, Royal Docks
From £214,200: apartments at Waterside Park, Royal Docks
Clearly it is worth haggling hard when the price is close to a stamp duty threshold — one per cent on purchases up to £250,000 rising to seven per cent on transactions of £2 million-plus.

Parking spaces, which typically cost anything between £15,000 and £75,000 in London, are another obvious bargaining counter.

Developer Weston Homes is offering to pay stamp duty at King’s Island, a canalside scheme of designer homes in Uxbridge, close to Heathrow. A former flour mill is being redeveloped into 151 new-build and conversion homes, priced from £201,995 to £669,995, meaning stamp duty savings of up to £26,799. Call 01895 232 049.

Crest Nicholson is dangling stamp duty deals and paid flooring at home counties developments, including Aldermere in Cheshunt and Cedars Park, Stowmarket. Three-bedroom houses are priced from £310,000. Call 0870 757 8192.

“Buyers can move in before Christmas even if they haven’t sold their existing home by taking advantage of our part-exchange scheme,” says Annette Cole, marketing director.

Taylor Wimpey has a December financial year-end and is offering incentives at The Mill Apartments, West Hampstead. Prices are from £588,000 and buyers receive a package of audio-visual treats worth up to £5,000. Call 0845 676 2377.

Greenwich Creekside
From £387,995: Greenwich Creekside Christmas deal packages include a year's free gym membership
December is a good time to buy from Barratt as the company has a half- year reporting deadline. “Buyers can negotiate an excellent package, especially at developments where we have ‘stock’ units available,” says Gary Patrick, sales director.

Such schemes include Waterside Park, Royal Docks, where prices start at £214,200, and Renaissance, Lewisham — prices from £198,000. Call 0845 8710005.

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Property values in Lewisham

Like exquisitely wrapped Christmas gifts, show homes are intended to tempt and tantalise. If you buy one you get a ready-made interior-designed home, with extra fittings and fixtures — even commissioned art — at a very competitive price. If you are in no rush to move in, a “sale-and-leaseback” deal may be possible. This allows you to move in at a later date and get a rental income in the meantime while the developer continues to use the home for marketing purposes.

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